Moguls World Cup readies for Val St. Come
Val St. Come, CAN - It’s all eyes on Val St. Come (CAN) this weekend, as the moguls World Cup tour heads north for the first of two competitions to be held on Canadian soil this season, with competition at the small Quebecois resort beginning with qualifications at 9:40EST, followed by finals at 13:30 this Saturday.
With no other competitions on the FIS Freestyle World Cup calendar this weekend it’s the mogul stars’ time to shine at a venue that sits right in the heart of what many consider to be the moguls hotbed of the world. The region is steeped in moguls tradition, with four of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games medallists calling Quebec home, and the course in Val St. Come named after two-time Olympic gold medallist Alex Bilodeau.
However, after getting shut out of the podium last weekend in Lake Placid (USA), the Canadian squad comes into Saturday’s competition in Val St. Come in the unfamiliar position of holding top spot on neither the ladies’ nor the men’s World Cup leaderboard, with those honours instead belonging to Britteny Cox (AUS) and Dmitriy Reiherd (KAZ), respectively.
In fact, after a 2015/16 season that saw Chloe Dufour-Lapointe take the moguls crystal globe and four other Canadian ladies finish in the top 10, the Canadians have yet to score a single podium on the ladies’ side thus far in 2016/17. Meanwhile on the men’s side, though five-time reigning globe winner Mikael Kingsbury took the win at the season opener in Ruka (FIN), he struggled in the big final in Lake Placid and was forced to settle for sixth place, watching as Reiherd leapfrogged him in the standings.
If there’s one venue on tour where the Canadians can expect to right the ship, however, it is Val St. Come, where at last season’s competition the home team took five of six podium places - highlighted by a historic sweep of the podium by the sister trio of Justine, Chloe, and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, a victory for Kingsbury, and the first career podium for Laurent Dumais.
Though a return to such lofty heights this weekend should not be ruled out for the large and exceptionally skilled Canadian contingent, it will not come easily.
Cox is skiing at the highest level of her career, and the 23-year-old with seven full World Cup seasons already under her belt has exhibited the type of smooth, run-to-run consistency that that the judges love to see. And, with 18-year-old Perrine Laffont (FRA) shadowing Cox step-for-step with two runner-up results on the season, and a young US team that has so far seen third place finishes for Keaton McCargo and Morgan Schild this year, it’s shaping up to be a hotly contested battle for top ladies’ honours in 2016/17.
On the men’s side Reiherd rules the roost with 150 points on account of a fourth place result in Ruka and an impressive win in very tough conditions last weekend in Lake Placid, with Kingsbury and Benjamin Cavet (FRA) just behind him tied at 140 points each.
With his five straight moguls and Freestyle overall crystal globe wins, his record 34 (and counting) World Cup victories, and an on-podium success rate of 75% over the course of his career, it would be foolish to bet against Kingsbury in almost any competition, and perhaps even more so when that competition is on home soil where a large contingent will be on hand to cheer him on.
However, with Reiherd and Cavet, Aussie ace Matt Graham, 19-year-old Japanese phenom Daichi Hara, and several others skiing strongly to start the season, Kingsbury is going to have to limit his mistakes and put the pressure back on his competitors in order to retake his place atop the leaderboard come Saturday.
Val St. Come FIS data page (live scoring, results, and more)